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Warning: don’t be casual about Christmas warehouse staff says Mentor

With the Christmas rush approaching fast, the UK’s largest forklift truck training provider, Mentor Training, has reminded businesses that inadequate training for seasonal staff can put everyone in danger.

Many warehouses take on casual and temporary workers each autumn, to cope with the surge in demand. Mentor has urged companies to check the validity of training certification and the operational capability of their temporary staff before they begin to use any type of forklift truck.

Research suggests workers are up to four times as likely to be involved in an accident during the first month of their employment. Analysis carried out for the Health & Safety Executive by the Warwick Institute for Employment Research found each percentage point increase in new staff raises a company’s risk of major workplace injuries by between 1.7% and 2.5%.

Agency workers and contractors are mentioned specifically in the HSE’s L117 Approved Code of Practice for Rider-Operated Lift Trucks which emphasises that special risk management is required.

Stuart Taylor, Director of Mentor Performance Risk Management says: “Just because a worker is temporary, it doesn’t mean that companies should provide only the bare minimum of training. Workers who lack safety skills are not only a danger to themselves, but to others too.

“The HSE is clear that employers should confirm all employees’ competence – but this isn’t always straightforward, especially when workers have been trained overseas. For employers, foreign certificates and licences offer no certainty of training provision or capabilities – so proper assessment is a must.”

In addition, Mentor advises employees that it is not only forklift operators that need adequate training, but managers, supervisors and colleagues on foot.

“Safety awareness is essential for everyone – two thirds of workplace transport accident victims are pedestrians – and that includes managers and supervisors, too.

“With proper training, seasonal staff are not only safer. They’re better equipped to make a positive contribution to your operation for every minute they’re on site – whether it’s for a few days, or something longer term – and that means it’s a happy and prosperous Christmas all round.”

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